DIY Handwritten Recipe Tea Towel

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  June 18, 2013 — 23 Comments

I got this idea a while ago, but it’s taken me a while to actually execute it. Finally, yesterday, I made it happen. My idea was to copy a recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting to a tea towel, and I love love love the way it turned out.

Grandma Gulley (or Nanny, as we usually called her) had this recipe for Sour Cream Apple Pie that was my absolute fave. I used to make it every year for the holidays, but Nanny taught me to use canned apples and I can never find them in stores anymore (only apple pie filling, which is different). I tried peeling and dicing my own apples one year but it was a lot of work and I think the different texture of the fresh fruit threw things off. So anyway, my Nanny passed away in 2004 and I have a lot of things from her–her/my engagement ring, some costume jewelry, handbags, mixing bowls, etc. But one of my favorite things is the recipe card for sour cream apple pie that’s scanned and saved on my computer. Whenever I want to make some pie I just click click click and there’s the recipe in her handwriting.

To copy it onto a tea towel, I had to cut and paste some parts to make it more into a square shape, then I enlarged it to be just shy of 28″ wide and had it printed at Office Depot for $7. I just uploaded my file from home, paid online, and picked it up that afternoon. Easy peasy. When I was ready to trace it, I rolled it out and taped it flat onto the floor.

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Then I taped down my 28″ square tea towel, which had already been washed, dried, and ironed. Cat optional for this phase of the project.

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I decided to start at the bottom so as not to upset Pistachio, who was laying there so sweetly and not ruining everything like she usually does when I’m working on something. I just traced Nanny’s handwriting right onto the fabric using a Sharpie. I googled it ahead of time to make sure it would work and from what I understand the only risk is that it may fade a bit with washing, which is okay with me as that would just give it a more authentically old-fashioned look.

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Bam. I knocked this one out quickly during Jack’s naptime. I find projects like this so relaxing!

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To say I love it would be an understatement. My only regret is that I don’t have the perfect spot in my kitchen to do it justice. I may hang up a hook for it to just hang there and look pretty. And I suppose perhaps I could dry my hands on it too.

handwritten recipe tea towel

I’m totally inspired now to come up with more ideas for sharpies and tea towels. I mean, I’ve already got the sharpie, and tea towels are pretty inexpensive with a coupon at places like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. How cute would two of these be as cafe curtains in a kitchen? The old-fashioned handwriting is really what makes it so charming. Nobody writes like that anymore, especially not me! My chicken scratch is barely legible.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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23 responses to DIY Handwritten Recipe Tea Towel

  1. Love, love, love, it! I have some recipes of my Mom’s and a whole card file from my Grandmother Anne Holland. (Your great grandmother.) Notice the word grandmother, not grandma. Grandma was not allowed in our family. LOL

    • Aunt Julie Hamrick Hursey June 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Janet – Do you have Grandma Jane’s recipe for chocolate icebox cake. (The one with lady fingers?) I’d love to do this for mom from that recipe.

      Charlotte-I think this is a stroke of genius idea!!! It would be so cute as an apron, too.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap June 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

      My mom has told me that Grandmother Anne was very proper!

  2. Oh I love this!! Our pastor has two framed large prints of a couple of his grandparents’ specialties in their handwriting. I also thought it would make such the cheap but extremely thoughtful gift. Such a great present idea come Christmas for other family members. So cute!!

  3. This is AWESOME! I’ve seen a couple of recipe-on-tea-towel things on Pinterest, but they seemed like a pain in the butt to do. This looks so easy!

  4. I love this! I’ve seen ideas like this on Pinterest, but it’s nice to know that it’s a very doable project, especially for mommas. This would be really neat to make a bunch and give as a gift to a bride at her bridal shower :)

  5. The Cat Lounge pictured in every project always makes me laugh.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap June 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

      I’m just keeping it real, haha. This is my life.

      • Question, Why did you decide to go to Office Depot to print the recipe, was it because you didn’t have a printer or because its better to transfer that way? I am able to print at work, so I wanted to see if you specifically had it printed there for quality reasons. Also, was it hard to see through the towel? I have seen a lot of people do it this way but I’m wondering how easy it is to see through the towel. Thanks!

        • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

          Sorry I’m just responding! I printed it at Office Depot because I needed it to be much bigger than standard letter size–it was actually more than two feet wide. It wasn’t hard to see through the towel.

  6. What a clever idea! How is it standing up to being washed? I have a bunch of my grandma’s recipes and I love the idea of transferring her handwriting directly onto something I’ll see every day in the kitchen. Hello from Manchester in the UK, by the way – I’ve just found your blog, and I love it!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks so much! To be honest, I haven’t washed it yet! I probably should as I’ve been drying my hands on it almost daily. My hope is that the ink will fade very gradually, giving it a natural timeworn look.

  7. Love this! What a cute kitchen accessory and sweet way to remember your grandma.

  8. Did you know that 1 copy is good for 1 iron on transfer? You could print the recipe out at home (use the mirror image feature on your printer settings) and then use the copy as an iron on transfer. After ironing, use the sharpie to brighten the letters. Your towel is beautiful! It gave me some ideas for my own mother’s recipes. Thanks!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 8, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      I did not know that! I definitely needed a bigger size than I could print at home for this project, but that’s a handy tip for the future.

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